Poetry Is Useless

Anders Nilsen. D&Q, $29.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-77046-207-6
In the philosophical vein of his acclaimed Big Questions, Ignatz- and Lynd Ward Prize–winning cartoonist Nilsen pulls us into the world of his journal/sketchbook, which is reproduced here. Returning repeatedly to the theme of the foolishness of poetry, Nilsen explores mortality, morality, and fear with funny and absurd pictures and engaging monologues. The drawing style is his usual simple silhouettes with blacked-out words, and all mistakes showing. Interspersed with the basic yet beautiful sketches—sometimes inked with seemingly thousands of labored marks—are intricate, detailed life drawings of Nilsen’s friends, strangers on trains, sea monsters, breakfasts, devils, and copies of works of art. There’s an odd and moving nonfiction account toward the end about a man who comes to a reading of Nilsen’s and has a strange and coincidental connection to the author and his dead partner. The break into more traditional comics narration forms a jarring and very effective addition to a book that is a little weird, but always humorous and perceptive. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/13/2015
Release date: 07/14/2015
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